Cow Palace – San Francisco, California – February 15, 2004
HEAT MATCH: Ultimo Dragon, Billy Kidman & Paul London vs. Tajiri, Akio & Sakoda
London and Akio start the match. These two had the best matches in the history of Velocity. They quickly go back and forth and London gets the advantage. Kidman tags in and Akio hits a jawbreaker before tagging out. Sakoda is in and Kidman hits him with a headscissors. Akio interferes from the apron to give Tajiri’s team control. Speaking of the team captain, Tajiri tags in and covers for two. Team Tajiri isolates Kidman in their half of the ring. Eventually Kidman comes back with a dropkick on Akio and makes the hot tag. Dragon is a house afire. The referee loses control and bodies are flying all over the place. Tajiri lands a kick on Dragon just before Sakoda hits the Twisting Powerslam for the pin at 5:35. That was a hot preshow match and a good way to get the crowd going.
Torrie Wilson and Sable make their way out to start the show. They welcome everyone, and say there isn’t anything they wouldn’t do to entertain the fans. So instead of doing something, they do nothing.
MATCH #1: WWE Tag Team Championship Handicap Match – Rikishi & Scotty 2 Hotty vs. The Basham Brothers & Shaniqua
Rikishi and Scotty have been the Champions since 2.5.04, and this is their first defense. Scotty and Danny start the match. They go back and forth a bit and then Scotty almost kills Danny by spiking him on his head with a headscissors. Rikishi tags in and is a house afire. Doug tries to interfere but gets taken out, and then Rikishi pulls Shaniqua in the ring. Rikishi signals for the Stink Face on her but Doug stops him and Shaniqua bails. Scotty tags back in and he collides with Doug and both men are down. Scotty pops back up and then signals for the Worm but Shaniqua lays him out with a clothesline from the apron. The challengers take control now and keep Scotty in their half of the ring. Shaniqua goes for a powerbomb but Scotty backdrops his way out of it and makes the tag. Rikishi has to battle both Bashams in order to get to Shaniqua. He goes for the Banzai Drop but the Bashams pull him off the ropes. Shaniqua covers for two. Scotty takes the Bashams out with a clothesline off the apron to the floor. Meanwhile Rikishi hits Shaniqua with a Samoan Drop. He follows that with the Banzai Drop to the ribs (being careful not to squash her boobs) to get the pin at 8:17. Remember when WWE used to allow man-on-woman violence, especially performed by a babyface? The match was nothing special.
MATCH #2: Jamie Noble vs. Nidia
Noble is being forced to wrestle this match in a blindfold, since it was his supposedly his fault that Nidia got temporarily blinded by Tajiri’s mist. However, it was definitely Noble’s fault for how much of a jerk he was to her while she was blind. Nidia wisely takes advantage of Noble being blinded, slapping him across the face. Noble angrily pulls the blindfold off and referee Charles Robinson threatens him with disqualification. Nidia continues staying away from Noble and taking her shots when she can get them. She pulls Noble’s pants down and then hits a bulldog for a two-count. Noble grabs a leg but Nidia kicks her way out of it and sends Noble to the floor. Nidia continues to frustrate her ex-boyfriend, hitting a drop toehold and a kick to the head. She goes up top but when the referee turns his back Noble peeks and is able to slam her off the top rope. Noble then locks on the Trailer Hitch to get the win at 4:26. Both played their roles well and they did what they could with the stipulations, but it’s not like a blindfolded man versus woman match is going to be a Funk versus Brisco classic.
MATCH #3: The World’s Greatest Tag Team vs. The Acolyte Protection Agency
Bradshaw’s right arm is heavily taped. Faarooq and Shelton Benjamin start the match. They do some back and forth and then Bradshaw is tagged in. Bradshaw hits a neckbreaker for two. Benjamin fights back and tags Charlie Haas, but Bradshaw immediately goes to work on him. Faarooq comes back in and misses a charge. Haas goes to work on his arm and the WGTT keeps Faarooq isolated. Why work on Faarooq’s arm when Bradshaw’s is already injured? This match makes no sense. Eventually Faarooq hits Haas with a spinebuster and makes the hot tag. Bradshaw is a house afire, hitting Benjamin with a powerslam and hurling Haas to the floor. He then flattens Benjamin with a powerbomb and Haas has to break it up. Faarooq and Haas take the fight to the floor, where Haas throws Faarooq into the ring post. Back in the ring Benjamin goes to the top rope but pays for it, as Bradshaw hits a Super Last Call. Haas interrupts again but gets blasted with the Clothesline from Hell. He’s not the legal man though, Benjamin is. Benjamin takes advantage with a superkick to get the win at 7:21.That was a TV match masquerading as a pay-per-view match.
Bill Goldberg arrives at the arena and takes his front row seat. Smackdown General Manager Paul Heyman comes out to confront him. Heyman yells at Goldberg a lot and is not happy to have him here. WWE Champion Brock Lesnar makes his way out too and challenges Goldberg to get in the ring and Heyman pleads with him not to. Lesnar calls Goldberg a bitch, and them’s fightin’ words. Heyman is losing it as it looks like Lesnar and Goldberg are going to fight. Lesnar does attack but Goldberg reverses the momentum and hits the Jackhammer! Heyman has security escort Goldberg out. Cole and Tazz are both mad at Goldberg because this is a Smackdown show and he is a Raw guy. My, how times have changed. Hardcore Holly runs down and tries to get a piece of Lesnar, but the Champion, who just stood up to Goldberg, runs from Hardcore Holly. I guess it’s because Lesnar already took a beating, but it still looked weird. Anyway, this segues perfectly into the next match…
MATCH #4: Hardcore Holly vs. Rhyno
Rhyno charges out and the fight begins in the aisle. They take it to the ring and Holly slows the match down with a side headlock. Rhyno fights out of it but Holly dumps him to the floor. Holly goes out there but Rhyno cuts him off and rams his back into the apron. Back in the ring Rhyno goes to work. Rhyno focuses on the midsection, ramming his shoulder into it and then using a body scissors. Holly punches his way out of it but Rhyno cuts him off and drops him on the top rope. Rhyno covers and gets two. He unloads with more punches but Holly ducks one and hits a back suplex. Holly can’t capitalize though and Rhyno is right back in control. Rhyno whips Holly into the corner and Holly explodes out with a clothesline and both men are down. Back on their feet Holly unleashes a series of clotheslines and a dropkick for a two-count. Holly goes up top but Rhyno knocks him down and hits a superplex. Rhyno tries to follow up but Holly hits an inverted DDT for two. Then Holly tries to follow up but Rhyno cuts him off with a spinebuster. Rhyno then hits the Gore but Holly rolls to the floor to avoid getting pinned. Holly makes it back in the ring before ten and is able to hit the Alabama Slam from out of nowhere to get the pin at 9:56. That wasn’t bad it was just pretty dull and didn’t really belong on PPV.
MATCH #5: Cruiserweight Championship Match – Rey Mysterio vs. Chavo Guerrero
Chavo has his father, Chavo Classic, in his corner. Mysterio is seconded by Jorge Paez. He has been the Champion since 1.1.04, and this is his third defense. Both men start off cautiously, since they know each other very well. Chavo goes for the mask early so Mysterio fires up and dropkicks him to the floor. Back in the ring Mysterio is on offense, keeping the pace quick. Chavo cuts him off with a face plant. Mysterio quickly makes a comeback and sets up for the 619 but Chavo Classic makes sure that doesn’t happen. Paez comes to the rescue and knocks Classic out, so referee Jimmy Korderas sends Paez to the back. Chavo checks on his dad and Mysterio capitalizes by wiping Chavo out with a springboard cross body block to the floor. Back in the ring Mysterio hits a springboard guillotine legdrop for a two-count. They fight up to the top rope and Chavo is able to hit a super gutbuster to reclaim control. Chavo keeps Mysterio on the mat with a variety of holds, which is smart when facing a high-flyer. Mysterio gets in a few hope spots but Chavo is quickly able to cut him off. Finally Mysterio comes back and hits the Stroke of all things for a two-count. They take it to the apron and Mysterio hits a DDT. Back in the ring Mysterio gets two. Mysterio misses a springboard cross body block and Chavo follows up with a gourdbuster for a near-fall. Chavo takes Mysterio to the top rope but it backfires when Mysterio knocks him down and hits a moonsault press for two. The challenger comes right back and hits a Gory Bomb for two. Cole and Tazz can’t be bothered to mention the Gory Bomb, referring to it as “a high impact move.” Mysterio comes back and connects with the 619 and then the springboard senton but Chavo rolls through to a half crab. That’s a cool spot. Mysterio reaches the ropes. The champ fights back and goes to the top rope but Chavo Classic pushes him off and Chavo Junior rolls him up for the pin to win the Cruiserweight Title for the third time at 17:22. These two had great chemistry, and Chavo had better matches with Mysterio than he did with anyone else. I miss the Cruiserweight Title.
MATCH #6: Number One Contender’s Match – Kurt Angle vs. John Cena vs. Big Show
Show is the current United States Champion. Cena still raps before the match, which was when his character was cool. He hangs back and lets Show and Angle fight in the opening moments of the match. Angle doesn’t appreciate that so Cena takes a crack at the U.S. Champ. Neither man can take Show down so instead they take it to each other while Show watches. Angle hits a belly-to-bell y suplex and Show breaks up the count. Cena rolls to the apron and Show throws Angle into him to knock Cena to the floor. Show dominates, taking turns beating on both of his opponents. The referee gets momentarily distracted and Angle hits Show below the belt to finally take him out. Angle then pulls Cena to the floor and throws him into the steps. Back in the ring Angle covers for two. Cena fights back with a back elbow and the Protoplex. He knocks Show off the apron with a basement dropkick and then covers Angle for two. Angle responds with three rolling German Suplexes. Show breaks up the cover. He then hurls Angle shoulder-first into the steel post. Show dominates Cena now, using his power. Cena fights back by going to the knees again, and then hitting a forearm off the top rope. Angle makes his way back in the ring with a missile dropkick on Show for two. Cena dumps Angle back to the floor. He hits the F-U on Show but before he can cover Angle gets in the ring and tries an Angle Slam but Cena counters with a DDT. Cena rolls over and covers Show but only gets two. Angle then dumps Cena to the floor. He hits Show with the Angle Slam but only gets two. The straps come down and Cena gets back in the ring so Angle puts him in the Ankle Lock. Show breaks that up with a thunderous Chokeslam. Cena rolls Show up for two. Show hits Cena with a Chokeslam. Angle breaks up the pin by putting Show in the Ankle Lock! Show kicks out of it and Cena hits Angle with a spinebuster and the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Cena goes for the F-U but Show stops it by hitting him in the injured knee. Show slams Cena’s knee into the top turnbuckle. That’s a cool spot. Angle then Angle Slams Show over the top rope to the floor! That’s cool too. Angle then attacks Cena’s knee and locks him in the Ankle Lock, forcing Cena to tap at 12:19. They did some cool spots and the finish was awesome. This was way better than I remember it.
MATCH #7: WWE Championship Match – Brock Lesnar vs. Eddie Guerrero
Lesnar has been the champion since 9.18.03, and this is his sixth defense. He overpowers Eddie to start and tries to intimidate him. He takes the advantage and throws Eddie around, showing his far superior strength. He gives Eddie three belly-to-belly suplexes, and Eddie takes his time recovering outside the ring. Lesnar continually kicks him back down to the floor. Eddie briefly attacks the leg, but the champion soon regains control and wears the challenger down. Lesnar tries a charging knee in the corner and Eddie moves, causing Lesnar to crash to the floor. Eddie follows him out with a plancha off the top rope. Back in the ring Eddie hits a back suplex, but Lesnar fights back and hot shots Eddie’s throat off the top rope. Eddie comes back with a leg submission and turns it into an STF. Lesnar escapes, but Eddie stays working on the big man’s wheels. The champ makes a brief comeback but the tenacious challenger goes right back to the leg. Eddie tries a missile dropkick and misses. Lesnar hits a suplex and then puts on a gut-lock. Eddie gets out of it and they trade control back and forth. He hits the Three Amigos and tries the Frog Splash but misses. Lesnar gets up and hits the F5, taking the referee out in the process so there’s no count. The champion goes outside the ring and grabs his belt. Before he can hit Eddie with it, Goldberg comes out and nails Lesnar with a Spear and everybody’s down. The crowd actually keeps chanting Eddie’s name, as they were more excited about Eddie maybe winning the match now than they were to see Goldberg. Eddie’s over, man. He grabs the title belt but Lesnar thwarts his attempts to hit him with it. Lesnar goes for the F5 but Eddie reverses it to a DDT right onto the belt. He goes up and hits the Frog Splash to score the pin and win the WWE Championship at 30:05.
What an amazing match, and a sad reminder of how great both of these guys were. While not as flawless as the Halloween Havoc ’97 match against Rey Mysterio, this is Eddie Guerrero’s finest match. The crowd was super hot for him and he wrestled an amazing match. Lesnar more than held up his end too, reminding me how great he got in such a short period of time. It’s a shame that they never got to do a rematch. I know most people say that the Chris Benoit versus Shawn Michaels versus Triple H match from WrestleMania XX is the 2004 Match of the Year, but I disagree. I’m pretty sure fellow Cool Kid Brad Garoon agrees with my disagreement.